Notre Dame suffered a tough loss Saturday at the hands of Stanford. The Irish were dominated on both lines of scrimmage and struggled to sustain much offense throughout the game. Here are some initial thoughts on today’s game.
- The offensive line had its roughest day of the season. Stanford generated a pass rush all day long most ly rushing just 3 or 4 linemen. The line is still missing assignments as evidenced by the failed fourth and 1 run when the game was still somewhat in doubt. The line is going to be a work in progress it appears for most of the year.
- Dayne Crist had a rough day too – his roughest as a collegiate player. His overall stats don’t look too bad. He was 25 of 44 for 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Crist was tentative and didn’t push the ball down the field until the game was over. Hopefully this ends up being a learning experience for Crist and he bounces back next week, but it’s clear that he still needs some work. He’s shown that he’s got all of the tools – just needs more experience.
- Theo Riddick showed some more examples of why the coaching staff was so high on him this summer. He ended up with 7 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. He had a second touchdown called back because of a holding penalty in the final minute too. Riddick has looked great when he’s gotten the ball in space – he just hasn’t gotten enough opportunities.
- It was nice to see John Goodman get involved in the offense today. He recorded his first five catches of the season and ended up with 59 yards.
- The running game was a disappointment today. Armando Allen continued to run hard and he did the most with the space he was given to run. The problem was there wasn’t much room to run when the Irish decided to run.
- Michael Floyd topped 100 yards for the first time this season and looked like he could have had a bigger day if his number would have been called more. Floyd continues to show that he is going to win the battle for the ball most of the time if Crist just throws it up for him down-field. He’s not getting enough chances on such plays though.
- TJ Jones didn’t have a big impact on the game, but he could have. Jones broke free down the sideline on the first drive of the game for an easy score but Crist missed him badly. Kelly needs to find more ways to get Jones the ball in space.
- Stanford did a hell of a job taking Kyle Rudolph out of the game. They had Rudolph blanketed and forced Notre Dame to beat them without Rudolph. Their strategy worked. Rudolph had just 1 catch for 1 yard all game after tearing it up the last three weeks.
- Stanford controlled the line of scrimmage and that is why Notre Dame struggled offensively as much as they did.
- Third down defense was very, very rough today. Stanford converted 11 of 16 3rd downs – anytime a team allows that many 3rd down conversions they are going to have a hard time winning the game.
- The defense held tough in the first half, but wore down as the game continued. Stanford only had 16 points at half time but it could have been worse with how much trouble the offense had moving the football.
- Stanford piled it on late, but through through and a half quarters they had just 19 points. Not a great effort, but certainly good enough for this to have been a game had the offense been able to score some points.
- Manti Te’o was an absolute beast out there today. His final tackle total ended up at 21. He was all over the field and single handily almost kept the Irish in the game in the second half. Simply put, Notre Dame needs more Manti Te’os to get to where we all want them to get.
- Notre Dame recorded the first two interceptions of the season of Andrew Luck, but they could have had at least another two. Darrin Walls dropped an easy interception in the end zone on a third down that would have saved three points in the first half.
- The pass rush was almost non-existent today. Luck avoided the little pressure Notre Dame got with ease.
- Notre Dame linebackers had a rough day in coverage. Stanford made a living attacking the middle of the field. Te’o is getting better in coverage and was just out of position on a few key plays. He’ll improve in this area over time, but for now the linebackers are vulnerable to attack through the air for Notre Dame.
- The return games have been a disappointment the last few weeks. Kelly mentioned that if Wood doesn’t improve in the return game he could lose his job and he didn’t do much today to secure his position as the top kick returner.
- Notre Dame didn’t have much of an opportunity to return punts since Stanford only punted once the entire game.
- David Ruffer connected on both field goals today and continues to be perfect on the season kicking field goals.
- Ben Turk had an alright game outside the botched rugby style punt that netted only 18 yards.
- Coverage units were solid again.